Daisy's school had a "Meeting for the Community" yesterday. This is a meeting where they bring together administrators, parents, students, hobos, midget marsupials, and Xzo?vo! from Planet kPqoook to help guide the direction of the school. Normally I would not attend meetings like this, but the school principal had sent an email to the PTA Board (where I am known as Mike, Lord Secretary!) explaining that our presence at the meeting was expected. So, I showed up.
I strolled into the meeting on Wednesday night with my laptop in hand, hoping to get some work done while the "community" met. However, I immediately noticed the agenda posted on the wall which contained ominous phrases like "Group brainstorming".
Ugh. I was expected to interact. With humans. That's not really one of my strengths.
I plopped onto the bench and put my laptop bag down. A couple minutes later, Mr. Psychologerson entered the room. He came over and expressed pleasure at seeing me at the meeting.
"Yeah," I said, "I figured I'd give it a try, although I suspect this isn't really my thing."
"Oh, this is definitely NOT your thing," he replied, looking unwaveringly directly into my eyes.
The dude had me nailed. Chalk one up for psychology.
The meeting started and the first part wasn't too bad. Overhead slides. Children making speeches. Administrators explaining which four-letter words to use and not use when writing our budget-complaint letters to Governor Schwarzenegger (a title that still rolls off the tongue like a mouthful of marshmallows and peanut butter).
Then, we got to the group-breakout sessions. They gave each group specific questions to contemplate and brainstorm answers for. This part sucked really hard. Brainstorming has several serious flaws:
1) There aren't supposed to be any wrong answers in brainstorming. Mr. Psychologerson could have a brilliant insight, and then I could open my mouth and barf up a burrito, and both of those expressed thoughts would get written down with equal importance.
2) The people who dominate the conversation are those people who like to hear themselves talk. The correlation between good ideas and people who like to talk is very low.
3) People generally ignore the topic and just spew syllables about their pet peeves.
On top of all this, the person writing down our thoughts was an eighth grader. Even the occasional good idea got mangled by the time it made it onto her paper. The end result was several pounds of chaff with a few grains of wheat. That is going to be some crappy bread.
Next time I'm sending Hank.